What’s the Difference Between Lipstick and Lip Gloss? Discover the Important Distinctions in 2024

Difference between lipstick and lip gloss

Lipstick and Lip Gloss are essential in the beauty world, adding the finishing touch to countless makeup looks. These are the two most popular options when it comes to lip wear. Though both products accentuate the lips, they offer different finishes and serve specific purposes. So let’s compare lipstick and lip gloss and see what we find out.

Lipstick is a classic makeup staple that provides intense color, often with a matte or satin finish. It comes in various forms, including traditional bullet, liquid, or even crayon, and allows for precision and long-lasting wear. In contrast, lip gloss adds shine and hydration to the lips, with sheer to medium color coverage. It is typically formulated with emollient oils and available in various formats such as tubes, wands, and even squeeze applicators.

When purchasing lipstick and lip gloss, a few key factors to consider are the color intensity, texture, wear time, and any additional benefits, such as hydration or plumping effects. Personal preferences and desired makeup outcomes will significantly influence your choice between these two products.

Understanding the distinctions between lipstick and lip gloss can help you make the right selection for any given occasion. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each product and explore their unique characteristics, applications, and benefits. This will help you decide whether to choose lipstick or lip gloss.

What is Lipstick?

Lipstick is a cosmetic product that we use to add color, texture, and sometimes hydration to our lips. Composed mainly of wax, oils, and pigments, lipsticks come in a variety of shades and finishes, allowing us to express our unique personalities and enhance our natural beauty.

There are several types of lipstick finishes, each with its own set of characteristics. To help you understand these various options, the team here at Glam Grader have compiled a brief list of the most common types of lipsticks:

  • Matte: Matte lipsticks have a flat, velvety finish, without any shine or shimmer. They tend to be highly pigmented and long-lasting, but can sometimes feel drying on the lips.
  • Satin: Satin lipsticks strike a balance between matte and glossy finishes. They provide a soft, smooth texture with a slight sheen, and are generally quite comfortable to wear.
  • Cream: Cream lipsticks offer a rich, creamy texture that glides on easily and provides a good balance of color and hydration. They have a subtle shine and tend to be very comfortable on the lips.
  • Frost or shimmer: These lipsticks contain reflective particles that create a frosted or shimmery effect on the lips. The intensity of the shimmer can vary from subtle to dramatic, depending on the lipstick’s formulation.
  • Glossy: Glossy lipsticks have a high shine finish and often provide a sheerer color payoff than other types. They can be either hydrating or somewhat sticky, depending on the specific formula.

The team agree that our typical use of lipstick is to enhance our lip color, define the shape of our lips, and make them appear fuller and more attractive. Lipstick can also help protect our lips from harsh environmental factors, such as sun, wind, and cold, by providing a moisturizing barrier. The different finishes and formulas allow us to choose the perfect lipstick that matches our preferences, whether it’s a bold, dramatic look or a subtle, natural one.

Now that you have a better understanding of what lipstick is and the various types available, we believe that you are in a better position to confidently select the ideal lipstick to match your desired look and feel.

What is Lip Gloss?

Lip gloss is a versatile makeup product that adds shine and a touch of color to our lips while usually providing less coverage and intensity than lipstick. Its composition typically includes a blend of oils, waxes, and emollients to give it a smooth, glossy texture. Sometimes, lip gloss may also contain added fragrances, flavors, and certain moisturizing ingredients to enhance the overall lip care experience.

There are various types of lip gloss available in the market to cater to our diverse preferences. Here, we describe some of the most popular types:

  • Clear Lip Gloss: As the name suggests, this type doesn’t contain any pigments and provides a natural, transparent shine to our lips.
  • Tinted Lip Gloss: These lip glosses contains a hint of color. They can range from subtle shades to more vibrant hues and are perfect for those who want a slight pop of color on their lips without the commitment of opaque coverage.
  • Shimmery Lip Gloss: This type contains small glitter particles that add a sparkling effect to our lips, making them perfect for special occasions or nights out.
  • Plumping Lip Gloss: These lip glosses are infused with ingredients like menthol, cinnamon, or capsaicin, which can help to temporarily plump and enhance the appearance of our lips by stimulating blood flow.

As opposed to lipstick, which generally offers full coverage and a wide range of finishes from matte to creamy, lip gloss is primarily known for its glossy finish. This makes it the go-to option for those aiming for a lighter, more natural look or for an easy touch-up throughout the day. Moreover, lip gloss can be worn alone or layered on top of our favorite lipstick to add more dimension and shine.

In conclusion, lip gloss is an essential makeup item for those who opt for a more subtle, sheen appearance on their lips. With various types available, it’s easy to find the perfect lip gloss that complements our individual preferences and makeup style.

Comparing Lipstick and Lip Gloss

When choosing between lipstick and lip gloss, there are several aspects to consider. The team had a whole lot of fun in comparing their textures, lasting power, pigmentation, and effects on lip health and the following is our combined findings.

💄 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Texture – We found that lipsticks generally have a thicker, creamier consistency, usually providing a more opaque and matte finish. Lip glosses, on the other hand, have a lighter, smoother texture with a translucent or semi-opaque finish. This results in a shinier appearance for glosses, while lipsticks offer more coverage and a wider range of finishes.

💄 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Lasting Power – Lipsticks typically last longer than lip glosses, thanks to their higher pigmentation and denser formula. Throughout our testing we found that lipsticks can last up to several hours without the need for reapplication. However in comparison lip glosses usually needed reapplication more frequently as their thin and shiny texture can easily wear off throughout the day.

💄 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Pigmentation and Color Payoff – Lipsticks are known for their rich pigmentation, offering a wide variety of vibrant shades and intensities. This makes them an excellent choice for those seeking bold and dramatic looks. Lip glosses generally have less pigmentation, offering a more subtle color payoff. This makes them perfect for achieving a natural, everyday look or adding a touch of shine over lipstick.

💄 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Effects on Lip Health – Both lipsticks and lip gloss can have their benefits and drawbacks when it comes to lip health. Lipsticks might contain moisturizing ingredients, such as shea butter or vitamin E, that help to keep lips hydrated. However, some matte lipsticks might be drying, as they often contain ingredients like silicone or wax to achieve a long-lasting finish. Lip glosses are usually more hydrating due to their oil-based formulations, but they might be less protective against external factors, such as UV rays and cold temperatures.

💄 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Ingredients – As for comparing the ingredients of lipstick and lip gloss, lipsticks generally contain pigments, oils, and waxes, while lip glosses are formulated with oils, pigments, and emollients. The specific composition varies between brands and product lines. We highly recommend that you research the ingredients in the products you’re considering, as they can have a significant impact on lip health, color payoff, and lasting power.

💄 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Summary – The choice between lipstick and lip gloss depends on the desired finish, pigmentation, lasting power, and lip health considerations. By understanding the differences between the two, we can confidently select the best option for our needs and preferences.

Lipstick and Lip Gloss: 5 Top Picks

We’ve curated a selection of the best products to showcase the differences between lipstick and lip gloss, so you can find the perfect option for your preferences and needs.

#1 Rimmel Stay Glossy Lip Gloss – 130 Blushing Belgraves

For those looking to add a touch of color and shine without compromising on comfort, Rimmel Stay Glossy Lip Gloss is a fantastic option.


✅ Boost of color and luxurious shine
✅ Non-sticky, lightweight formula
✅ Shine Extend Technology for 6-hour wear 


❌ May not be as pigmented as other options
❌ Not as long-lasting compared to some products
❌ Applicator may require more frequent application

Rimmel’s Stay Glossy Lip Gloss allows you to achieve a stunning gloss and lip color with a non-sticky, lightweight formula that’s perfect for a comfortable wear. Made with Shine Extend Technology, this lip gloss can provide up to six hours of glossy color, making it an ideal option for those long days and nights out.

One of the key features of Rimmel Stay Glossy Lip Gloss is its versatility. Wear it alone or on top of your favorite lipstick for an extra pigment boost. The lip-hugging applicator ensures precise application, giving you expert coverage and allowing you to reapply your makeup anytime, anywhere.

Some users may find that the pigmentation is not quite as strong as other lip glosses, so you might need to apply it over lipstick for a more striking look. Additionally, while it offers up to six hours of wear, touch-ups throughout the day may still be necessary if you’re looking for a more vibrant appearance.

In comparison to other lip glosses, Rimmel Stay Glossy Lip Gloss is an excellent choice for those seeking a non-sticky, comfortably lightweight formula with a touch of color and shine. Its 6-hour wear time may not be as long-lasting as some competitors, but for the price and versatility, we believe this is a great addition to any makeup collection.

# 2 wet n wild Mega Slicks Lip Gloss

This affordable and versatile lip gloss is perfect for those seeking intense shine, color, and hydration.


✅ Beautiful color with high shine
✅ Moisturizing formula with hyaluronic acid and collagen
✅ Cruelty-free and vegan


❌ Some users may find the scent too strong
❌ Slightly sticky texture
❌ Limited quantity in the package

Wet ‘n wild Mega Slicks Lip Gloss offers a beautiful tinted gloss that combines the vibrant color of a lipstick with the hydration and shine of a lip gloss. The Jojoba Glaze formula provides a stunning, high-shine finish that makes lips appear fuller, smoother, and more vibrant.

One of the key features of this lip gloss is the moisturizing formula containing hyaluronic acid, collagen, sunflower oil, and vitamin E. This blend not only allows for a smooth application, it also promotes firmness and hydration essential for healthy, beautiful lips. In comparison to other products on the market, this unique formula sets it apart by not only offering color and shine but also additional skincare benefits.

Another notable feature is the easy application, with the included applicator wand allowing for precise and even coverage in a single swipe. This makes it an ideal choice for those who want a quick and effortless way to enhance their lips.

One downside is that some users might find the vanilla scent too strong, and the texture can be slightly sticky. However, considering the price and quality of the lip gloss, these minor drawbacks could be overlooked.

In summary, wet n wild Mega Slicks Lip Gloss is an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable, cruelty-free, and vegan lip gloss with an ultra-shiny finish, beautiful color, and hydration benefits.

#3 essence What the Fake! Plumping Lip Filler

Achieve a full, plump pout with this vegan and cruelty-free lip gloss from essence cosmetics.


✅ Instantly plumps and hydrates lips
✅ Enriched with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E
✅Cooling and tingling sensation from cinnamon oil


❌ May require frequent reapplication
❌ Some users may not experience significant plumping
❌ Texture may feel like ordinary lip gloss for some 

The essence What the Fake! Plumping Lip Filler is a standout product for those seeking a plumped and moisturized pout without breaking the bank. One of its key features includes its formula, enriched with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, which keeps lips hydrated and visibly evens out fine lines. This sets it apart from other competing lip glosses that may not offer similar benefits.

Another aspect that makes this product stand out is the use of cinnamon oil, creating a slight cooling and tingling sensation on the lips. This effect not only signifies that the lip gloss is working but also gives an enjoyable sensation for the user. While some users may experience a desirable plumping effect with this product, keep in mind that individual results may vary.

This lip gloss is a great option for those who want a lip-enhancing effect without using a product tested on animals, as essence cosmetics is acknowledged by PETA as a cruelty-free brand. Moreover, this product is free from gluten, parabens, and microplastic particles, making it a safer choice for conscious consumers.

In conclusion, the essence What the Fake! Plumping Lip Filler is a budget-friendly option for individuals seeking a vegan and cruelty-free lip gloss that plumps, hydrates, and adds a luminous pearly nude finish to their lips. However, bear in mind that individual results may vary in terms of plumping and texture, and reapplication may be necessary throughout the day.

#4 BINGBRUSH 3 Pcs Color Changing Lip Gloss

We highly recommend this product as a suitable choice for buyers looking for a moisturizing lip product with a unique color-changing feature.


✅ Color-changing ability
✅ Moisturizing properties
✅Suitable as a gift


❌ Inconsistent tinting results
❌ Hard applicator
❌ Unpleasant taste for some

The BINGBRUSH 3 Pcs Color Changing Lip Gloss set stands out due to its color-changing feature, which claims to adjust the lip color according to the temperature and humidity of the wearer’s lips. This allows for a unique and customized lip color experience. In addition, these lip products are made with cocoa butter, beeswax, and essential oils to help keep the lips hydrated and moisturized.

Compared to other products on our list, we found BINGBRUSH’s color-changing lip gloss outperforms when it comes to providing a personalized lip color experience. However, some users have reported inconsistent results in terms of the tint’s development. Also, the applicator has been described as being hard and uncomfortable to use, which might cause inconvenience for some users.

In terms of gifting, the BINGBRUSH lip gloss set would make a thoughtful yet budget-friendly present for friends and family, especially during special occasions like birthdays, Christmas or other festivals. However, keep in mind that some of our testers have mentioned that the taste of these lip products might not be pleasant for everyone.

Overall, we believe that the BINGBRUSH 3 Pcs Color Changing Lip Gloss set is a good fit for buyers who prioritize a unique color-changing feature and moisturizing properties in their lip products. While there are some cons to consider, our team believes it’s worth a try for those who want a personalized lip color experience.

#5 COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Yummy Gloss Daylight Collection

We think the COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Yummy Gloss Daylight Collection is a must-try for those seeking a hydrating, non-sticky lip gloss with a subtle shine.


✅ Infused with hyaluronic acid and antioxidant berries for hydration
✅Non-sticky, weightless feel
✅Delicious flavors and scents


❌ May not provide intense color
❌ Some users may not like the fruity scent
❌ Not suitable for those seeking a matte finish

The COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Yummy Gloss Daylight Collection we found is a perfect choice for buyers who want a lip gloss that offers hydration and a subtle shine without the sticky feel. One of its standout features that we experienced was the infusion of hyaluronic acid and antioxidant berries like acai, goji, and black elderberry, which not only nourishes the lips but also provides instant hydration.

Another great feature of this lip gloss is its non-sticky, weightless feel. Unlike many lip glosses that we trialed that can feel heavy and sticky on the lips, the Yummy Gloss glides on smoothly and feels comfortable throughout the day. Moreover, it comes with a plush applicator that scoops up just the right amount of gloss for an effortless application.

Finally, the whole testing team agreed the COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Yummy Gloss Daylight Collection is not only a treat for the lips but also for the senses. It is infused with delicious fruity flavors and scents that make it enjoyable to wear. However, those who prefer a matte finish or do not like scented lip products may find this gloss less appealing.

Overall, we found the COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Yummy Gloss Daylight Collection is an excellent choice for buyers seeking a hydrating, non-sticky lip gloss with a subtle shine and appealing scents. While it may not be suitable for everyone, its combination of hydration, comfort, and sensory appeal sets it apart from other lip glosses on the market.

Buying Guide for Lipstick and Lip Gloss

When choosing between lipstick and lip gloss, there are several factors to consider that will help you find the perfect product for your needs. In this buying guide, we will provide you with the essential aspects to look for when shopping for lip products.

💋 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Texture and Finish

Lipsticks generally have a thicker and creamier texture, providing a smooth and opaque finish. On the other hand, lip glosses are thinner and more lightweight, offering a sheer to semi-opaque finish with a glossy shine. Here’s a brief comparison of the two:

💋 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Color Options

Both lipsticks and lip glosses come in a vast array of color choices. Lipsticks usually have more color intensity and better color payoff, while lip glosses often have a sheer tint that will let your natural lip color show through. If you prefer a bold and vibrant color, lipstick is the choice for you. However, if you’d like a more natural look, lip gloss may be the better option.

💋 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Longevity and Wear

Lipsticks generally provide longer-lasting wear than lip glosses due to their thicker formula and higher pigmentation. However, some lipsticks may be drying on the lips. If you’re more concerned about comfort and hydration, opt for a lip gloss with moisturizing ingredients.

💋 Lipstick and Lip Gloss: Application and Versatility

Lipstick is easy to apply and typically offers more precision, whereas lip gloss is great for a quick, on-the-go application. Consider the application process that works best for you. Additionally, you can also layer lip gloss over lipstick to enhance the color and add some shine and dimension to your lips.


In conclusion, the team at Glam Grader believes that by keeping the above factors in mind, you’ll be able to confidently decide which product is the better choice for your specific needs and preferences. From the team, Happy Shopping!


  • GG Team
  • Denise Macgiver

    Denise has an extensive background in cosmetics and makeup artistry and has owned her own business as a beautician along with her work as a private contractor for the film and movie industry and for ad agencies.

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  • Alice Slater

    Alice trained as a cosmetologist at Glen Dow Academy in Spokane, WA. She was a representative for "Beauty for All Seasons" for several years and worked for numerous ad agencies and production companies as a freelance makeup artist. She also served as a volunteer for Spokane Ballet and the Spokane Symphony doing makeup and hair.

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